Category: Latest News

Steady freshman Kyree Womack bails out Chester in quarterfinals

Chester Crestwood

Chester freshman guard, Kyree Womack, had the hot hand at the free throw line including three that tied the score near the end of regulation as the Clippers defeated Crestwood in overtime in the PIAA Class 5A quarterfinals Friday night.

By Bob Grotz

Down three points with 10.5 seconds left in regulation and the season on the line, Chester High had upstart Crestwood High right where it wanted it Friday night.

That would be freshman Kyree Womack at the free throw line shooting three after getting fouled attempting a desperation trey in the PIAA Class 5A quarterfinal at the Clip Joint.

Now, the Clippers weren’t exactly cashing in at the free throw line on this night. They missed almost as many as they made. One look at the box score and you knew coach Keith Taylor was going to tear every last hair out of his head lamenting, if we only made just two more here, just one more here, and another here.

“He makes all of his foul shots at practice,” said Karell Watkins, who contributed 19 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. “We’ve got to make foul shots before we leave practice and he always sends us home. If he makes them, we go home.”

On this night, it would be the Comets going home disappointed because of Womack, who calmly went swish, double-doink and in, and on the third shot, gently off the iron with a kiss of the backboard, tying the game. That enabled the Clippers to prevail in overtime, 58-52.

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Girls: Carroll ‘shuts down’ late, falls to Nazareth

taylor wilson

Taylor Wilson, seen here going up for a shot in a game last month, scored 12 of her team-high 14 points in the third quarter in Friday’s PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Nazareth Area. The Patriots, however, were shut out on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter en route to a 50-35 defeat. MEDIANEWS GROUP FILE PHOTO

By Matt Smith

Archbishop Carroll had one hot quarter and three not-so-good ones Friday night.

Ultimately, the inconsistency on offense resulted in a season-ending loss in the PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal round at Nazareth Area.

The Patriots were shut out in the final stanza and dropped a 50-35 decision to the District 11 champion Blue Eagles (17-1).

Carroll seemed to get a late start in pregame warm-ups. There were roughly 12 minutes left on the pre-game clock before the Patriots rushed out onto the floor to get their work in, while Nazareth had spent the last 15-plus minutes in shootaround.

Not to make any excuses for the Patriots, who were forced to move up to the highest classification in the state this year, but they were cold in the early going.

Karli Dougherty, one of Carroll’s senior leaders, said the Patriots were ready to go, but perhaps they were feeling the pressure of playing an excellent team that had the home advantage.

“We were really prepared, but we were nervous,” said Dougherty, who produced four points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. “We were a little bit nervous like anyone would be. I mean, we’re going in states, so who wouldn’t be a little bit nervous? If you lose, you’re done. Yeah, we definitely did have a slow start, but we definitely turned it around.”

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Chester wins PIAA quarterfinal in overtime

By Terry Thomas

The Chester Clippers (13-1) needed an additional 4 minutes of play to earn a trip to the Semi-finals with a come from behind 58-52 win over the Crestwood Comets (17-2).Chester will host the Semi-finals game against District-12 Champion, Archbishop Ryan on Monday, March 22nd with a 7:00 pm tip-off.

The Clippers were out of character in the first quarter, it took a put-back basket by Isaiah Freeman with 35 seconds remaining to end their drought. Between the turnovers and the missed shots, Chester found themselves trailing 2-9 at the end of the quarter. Yes, that’s Chester with only two points in the quarter. The Clippers did however do a good job protecting the three-point line by not allowing any in the quarter.
The Clippers continued with their defensive plan of protecting the three-point line and began to find their mark offensively in the second quarter. Karell stole and pass resulting in a trey by Fareed Burton Jr to get the Clippers closer at 14-17 with 1:35 on the clock. Chester missed on their next three shot attempts and entered intermission trailing 15-21.
The third quarter had the Chester faithful energized with the standard Clippers run. They race out with a 13-1 run taking a 28-22 lead at the 2:06 mark capped with two free-throws from Jameel Burton Jr. A steal and lay-up by Fareed tied the score at 22 with 5 minutes to go. The Clippers went scoreless over the final 2+ minutes and the Comets responded with a 7-0 run to recapture the lead at the end of the quarter. Chester – 28, Crestwood – 29.

Lilley’s big game leads Lower Merion past Abington, back to District 1 summit

The Lower Merion boys basketball team celebrates with the District 1 trophy after winning the 6A title over Abington Friday, March 19, 2021. (Andrew Robinson – MediaNews Group)

By Andrew Robinson

Demetrius Lilley hit his first shot Friday night and the rest of his Lower Merion teammates didn’t miss much after that.

The No. 9 Aces’ standout junior big man was an impact player on both ends as he and Lower Merion caught fire early and never cooled off against No. 14 Abington. Once the Aces got going, the Ghosts simply couldn’t keep up in their quest for a fifth District 1 title in the last five years.

Lilley poured in 31 as Lower Merion topped Abington 62-41 to capture the 6A boys’ basketball title, the program’s first since Kobe Bryant was a senior in 1996.

“I was so excited, it’s amazing. We worked really hard for this,” Lilley said. “We weren’t ready to go home.

“I was just taking everything in flow, but I have to say, that basket did look pretty big to me.”

Lower Merion’s last four district title game appearances between 1996 and Friday had ended in losses but the Aces also didn’t have Lilley for any of them. The 6-foot-9 junior showcased the full depth of his abilities, scoring almost as many points as the Ghosts had as a team, shooting 13-of-16 from the floor, blocking and altering shots and hitting the glass for seven rebounds.

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Lower Merion wins first district title since Kobe Bryant era

Photo by Owen McCue – MediaNews Group

By Bruce Adams

The Lower Merion boys’ basketball team captured its first District 1 title since the days of Kobe Bryant with a 62-41 win against Abington in the District 1 6A championship final.

The contest was held, appropriately enough, in the Kobe Bryant Gymnasium, where the Aces won their first District 1 title since 1996.

“Winning it at home means a lot – Kobe’s never far from my mind,” said Lower Merion boys’ basketball head coach Gregg Downer, who coached the Aces when they won the District 1 4A title and PIAA 4A state championship with Bryant in 1996. “Now that we can associate this ball club with his [1996] ball club, I hope that Kobe and Gianna are smiling down from Heaven, and I hope we can send up a [state title] trophy for them to look at.”

With the win, Lower Merion advanced to the PIAA 6A state semifinals, to be held Tuesday evening at the Kobe Bryant Gymnasium.

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Girls: Abbonizio steps up again to lead Springfield to crown

Springfield’s Alexa Abbonizio puts up a basket in the fourth quarter as the Cougars pulled away from Harriton, 46-39, to win the District 1 Class 5A Championship Wednesday. Abbonizio scored all 14 of the Cougars’ fourth-quarter points. (PETE BANNAN/MEDIANEWS GROUP)

By Matt Smith

Alexa Abbonizio has made a high school career out of making clutch baskets.

The Springfield senior did it again (and again, and again) Wednesday night in the District 1 Class 5A championship.

Abbonizio’s torrid fourth quarter, in which she scored all 14 of her team’s points, carried No. 1 Springfield to its second straight district title, a 46-39 decision over Central League rival and second-seeded Harriton.

Earlier in the year, the All-Delco became the program’s all-time leading scorer. She’s been padding her record ever since.

“Alexa’s put this team on her back for four years and she’s been a dominant part of this program for four years,” said coach Ky McNichol, who has guided the Cougars to district championships in three of her first six years at the helm. “What she did tonight was basically say, ‘I’m going to finish for my team, I’m not going to let us go down.’ I told them during a timeout that all we needed was to bury one 3 and we would be OK. So, once she buried the 2 and then buried the 3, I knew we were OK.

“Big players step up in big moments and she’s been a big player for us, game in and game out for four years.”

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Girls: In a year of COVID, a banner year for Springfield

Springfield girls basketball players celebrate the District 1 Championship title after defeating Harriton 46-39 Wednesday evening at Springfield High School Wednesday evening at Springfield High School. (PETE BANNAN/MEDIANEWS GROUP)


By Terry Toohey

There are no championship banners hanging in the Blue Gym at the recently opened, Springfield High School.

Don’t worry, it’s not an oversight. Getting the sparkling, state-of-the-art building up and running in the middle of a school year was the first priority. Adding amenities such as championship banners and the logos for all 12 Central League schools had to take a back seat.

Besides, a shiny new facility deserves pristine banners. New ones are on order for championship teams, individual state champs, 1,000-point members and 100-win wrestlers and should be up in a few weeks, athletic director Glenn Mallon said.

And when those banners are raised, there will be one more to order, after the Cougars claimed their second straight District 1 Class 5A title and third in the last five years with a 46-39 over Central League rival Harriton Wednesday night.

As with most championship banners, it will just reflect the year, not what the team had to go through to compile a 20-0 record, win a league and district championship in the same year for the first time in program history and to do it in the middle of a global pandemic as the Cougars have. It will not list the sacrifices the players and coaches were willing to make just to have a season.

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Chester turns up pressure on injured Rustin, captures district title

Chester’s (2) Jameel Burton steals the ball from West Chester Rustin’s (11) Kolbe Freney in the third quarter. The Clippers went on to a 62-46 to win the District 1 title. (PETE BANNAN – MNG)


Tuesday night’s District 1 Class 5A boys basketball championship game started tragically for visiting West Chester Rustin.

It ended jubilantly for the hometown team from Chester.

After two devastating first-quarter injuries for Rustin, the Clippers used a furious third-quarter charge to pull away from a game Golden Knights team, 62-46, for the Clippers’ 24th District 1 title.

Chester (12-1) will now host District 2 champion Crestwood on Friday night in the quarterfinal round of the PIAA Class 5A state tournament. Rustin, on the other hand, is left out in the cold by the new, COVID-19-composed tournament format.

Only district champions get the right to play for a state title this year.

“It feels great,” the Clippers’ Jameel Burton said, “to win a district championship.”

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For another Chester championship team, an important home run


Chester’s Fareed Burton, right, goes to the net with West Chester Rustin’s Ryan Seelaus defending in the third quarter Tuesday night. The Clippers went on to a 62-46 victory to win the District 1 Class 5A title. PETE BANNAN – MEDIANEWS GROUP


By Jack McCaffery

If it was District 1 championship night, and if it was Chester High on the basketball court, and if it was nearing spring, and if Hershey loomed in the distance, Keith Taylor would have known what to expect.

There would have been the mob of fans, many draped in orange. There would have been the Chester cheerleaders, legendary for their precision and style, bringing the crowd to a roar. There would have been bright lights at a college arena, maybe Temple, maybe Villanova. The Palestra, even.

There would have been a scene.

“Celebrities,” Taylor, the Chester coach, was saying Tuesday night. “College coaches. Professional players. They would have been there, all of them, to watch a big school basketball game. The Big Stage. The atmosphere. It would have been awesome.”

There was only some of that at 9th and Barclay Tuesday, as the Clippers rolled West Chester Rustin, 62-46 for the district’s Class 5A boys basketball championship. The coronavirus still a shadowing concern, the crowd was limited to a couple of hundred, all on the same side of the Fred Pickett Jr. Gymnasium, their voices coming through loud and clear despite covered mouths. Yet for all those legendary district championship nights in the past, 36 in all dating to 1943 according to legendary Clippers historian Dave Burman, there was something uniquely challenging about No. 37.

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First-quarter injury robs Rustin’s Barrouk of the finale he deserved

West Chester Rustin’s (23) Griffin Barrouk went out on this battle for possession against Chester’s (5) Isaiah Freeman in the first quarter. Barrouk went out for the game and the Clippers went on to a 62-46 to win the District 1 title. (PETE BANNAN – MNG)

By Neil Geoghegan

Believe it or not, Tuesday evening was a sort of homecoming for Griffin Barrouk.

And just when it looked like the West Chester Rustin star and Hofstra commit was poised for a glorious return to the city of Chester, things went horribly wrong.

When his Rustin squad travelled to meet traditional power Chester in the District 1 Class 5A title game, it wasn’t the first time Barrouk had squared off against this city’s best basketball players. In fact, the 6-foot-5 senior shooting guard has been coming to Chester since he was a pre-teen, testing his skills against the best competition he could find.

The biggest outing of Barrouk’s high school career, however, was also his last. Late in the first quarter, with Rustin trailing by a bucket, he fell to the ground awkwardly while battling against the Clippers’ Isaiah Freeman for a loose ball. It was obvious immediately that this was an injury he was not going to shake off.

“We don’t know the extent of the injury but it didn’t look good,” said Rustin Athletic Director Devon Landgraff.

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